Ratto: Seto, Sharks now linked to 'Shocker at Staples'


Ratto: Seto, Sharks now linked to 'Shocker at Staples'

Ray RattoCSNBayArea.com

LOS ANGELES-- Devin Setoguchi walked into the Staples Center Tuesday afternoon, looked up and saw an NHL commercial on the Miracle At Manchester, the Kings spectacular playoff comeback in 1982 that saw them erase a 5-0 third period deficit and beat the Edmonton Oilers.Setoguchi, who was unaware that the game ever existed, given that he was still five years away from conception, said, Oh, thats cool, and didnt give another thought to it.Now he is linked to it inextricably.

Yeah, thats pretty cool, he reiterated. Id never heard of it before. It was his cool, in fact, in collecting a nifty pass from Patrick Marleau and one-timing a blast past Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick 3:09 into overtime, that got the Sharks their finest playoff win ever. Down 4-love, they won, 6-5, to take a 2-1 lead in this series, and if we didnt know better, wed say they turned the series in their favor for good.We do know better because after one period and 44 seconds, the series had turned in the Kings favor for good. Shows what we know. Shows what we should be aware of in Game 4.We used our mulligan tonight, head coach Todd McLellan said more than once. This wont happen again.Whether this ends up being known as the Shocker at Staples, or the Fiasco on Figueroa, it is safe to say it wont happen again, not for a long time. The Sharks claim they came out more energetically than they did in the Game 2 disaster that saw them lose 4-0, but fell behind even faster this time. Two goals in 13 seconds inside the first 2:39, by Willie Mitchell and Kyle Clifford, then another body blow at 18:22 from Michal Handzus put them in terrible arrears.But for reasons only they can fully explain, to the extent they can explain this at all, they did not yell at each other. They did not panic. They did not mope.It was weird, I know, but everything was positive in the room, winger Ryane Clowe said. We played better than we did in Game 2, and we knew we were down 3-0, but we just felt better about our game. We just stuck with it.And so they did, promptly allowing a bad fourth goal to Brad Richardson 44 seconds into the second period, forcing McLellan do the only thing left in his hand exchange Antti Niemi for Antero Niittymaki in goal.But that didnt do it, either. A goal from Marleau on a glorious slap pass from Dan Boyle . . . a power play goal from Clowe 3:45 later . . . a smart drive from Logan Couture from Ian White at 13:22 . . . they were back in it at 4-3.And back out of it when Ryan Smyth scored 15 seconds later. Surely, the Kings had saved themselves in time.And surely, wed already been wrong about this game twice. So it was Clowe again, from Boyle at 18:35, and then Pavelski from White 54 seconds after that, tying the game and stupefying not only the Staples crowd but anyone who watched anywhere where watching could be done.I dont even know where to begin, Boyle said afterward. Were down and out, were done, but we somehow get back into it. I made two good plays the whole night, and they both ended up being goals. It was just a night when some guys stepped up and played great.Todd didnt say anything to us. He left it up to the players, and we just talked about not giving up, not quitting, just getting the first goal.McLellan disputed that.Oh, we talked, he said. They didnt need me to yell and scream at them. That would have been the worst thing to do. We just talked about passion, and doing the things we know we need to do and try to get back into this game.And so, improbably enough, they did, by changing goalies, and by rolling their top three lines almost exclusively after the first period. They couldnt do that very long in the overtime, because we were starting to run out of gas, McLellan said, but they got away with both Niittymaki and nine forwards long enough, thanks to Setoguchi and an inner peace that was outer angst only three days earlier.This may not have been the biggest playoff win in team history -- beating Detroit in 1994, and then last year, stand up as their most historically significant triumphs. But this was, for sheer unadulterated madness, the one that people may remember even longer than the 94 one. The Sharks were dead. Then they stopped being dead. Then they killed the Kings.For a day, anyway. As McLellan said, theyve used their mulligan. It only gets harder, and maybe even weirder, after this.

Internet immediately goes to DefCon1 on Chip Kelly-to-Cal


Internet immediately goes to DefCon1 on Chip Kelly-to-Cal

In what can be considered your standard bolt out of the blue, California head football coach Sonny Dykes has reportedly been fired.

In what can be considered your standard spur-of-the-Internet-moment-connect-the-dots inspiration, the Internet went immediately to DefCon1 on Chip Kelly-to-Cal rumors.

The logic, of course, is impeccable. Dykes never really snapped the Cal program around, taking a bad program and making it, well, mediocre, and he has spent much of the past two years aggressively seeking out other jobs, so one can assume there was at least some trouble in paradise, even if you want to make the case that Cal football and paradise are somehow connected.

And Kelly just got canned by the 49ers as part of Jed York’s latest I-will-not-be-made-to-look-ridiculous twitch, so he could sign a properly modest contract at Berkeley and still get his full $6 million with the offset from the three years left on his Jed deal.

So it makes perfect sense . . . which is why it should be judged with considerable skepticism.

For one, Kelly can almost surely do better in the college job diaspora. Cal is a big name with modest ambitions due in part to constant budget constraints, and there are better jobs out there even if he sits for a year.

For two, Cal and Kelly are an odd fit, given the persistent tensions between academia and athletica at Berkeley.

For three, the job comes with massive roadblocks, including Stanford, USC, Washington and (potentially) a resuscitation of the Oregon he left behind. Success will not come easy, if it does at all.

For four, Cal just finished four years of gimmick offense and overburdened defense, and Kelly would provide a more successful version of the same.

And for five, this is too easy, too simple, too convenient. Something about this scenario must be wrong somewhere. When people hit the Internet with photoshopped Kelly-in-Cal-costumes within minutes of the Dykes announcement, you know this is too obvious to actually come to fruition.

Why? Because we don’t live that well, that’s why.

The beauty of a triumphant Kelly at Cal glowering down at the charred ruin in Santa Clara seems more appealing than it actually is, because try as they might, Cal fans will never be backing the more popular horse here, and Kelly won’t win that battle unless he takes Cal to the Rose Bowl while the 49ers are still grappling over draft positions.

In that way, reality sucks. The idea that Jed York could be mocked in collegial absentia by his two biggest coaching hires is delicious but almost surely illusory.

But until we get more on why Dykes got canned 43 days after the team’s last game – recruiting, academic issues, legal issues, photocopier problems from him sending his resume out so often – all we have is the Chip Kelly rumor-ette to keep us intrigued.

Okay, to keep us amused.

Okay, to keep us from falling over in a coma. Cal should matter more than it does, but it’s been 13 years since the Holiday Bowl zenith of the Jeff Tedford Era, and 25 since Bruce Snyder took the Ursines to the Citrus Bowl. The evidence since 1990 is of a team with bigger dreams than means that is slightly below .500 (160-164). Sonny Dykes leaving means one more coach who didn’t make an impact unless his departure leads to either reassessment of the program’s standards, internal or external sanctions . . .

. . . or what the hell, Chip Kelly. Let’s face it – in these dismal days for wacked-out rumormongering, this is pretty intoxicating stuff.

Warriors are most geographically vague team in history of American sports


Warriors are most geographically vague team in history of American sports

The Philadelphia/San Francisco/Golden State Warriors have always had a casual attitude about their home court, even by the once-flexible standards of the National Basketball Association.

Thus, it should be only slightly amusing but not actually surprising that Warriors chief arenologist Rick Welts is now waffling a bit (courtesy Comrade Poole) on whether the team will change its name to San Francisco Warriors when it moves across the pond in 2019-20, or retain its current geographic association with Narnia.

I mean Golden State. I often confuse utterly fictional locales – when I can be bothered to give a toss either way.

But the Warriors, whether they play in Oakland, San Francisco, Pier 30, Pier 32, Westeros, Hobbiton, the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, Curryvania, the Klingon Empire, the Death Star or Planet Nine, are relocating, and once they break the seal on the earth in 12 days, Welts and his fellow elves will almost surely play the team’s future name as a mildly tedious cliffhanger.

Hey, fun is where you find it.

The matter of the team’s relocation will be a sore subject among lifelong East Bay residents, who have put up with the Warriors for 45 years in various stages of development, including the current “We Almost Never Lose” stage. They regard the Warriors’ transplantation to San Francisco to be an unspeakable crime given the high level of fan allegiance afforded them in Oakland.

And yes, they regard Oakland and San Francisco as very real places, as opposed to Golden State, Freedonia, Vulgaria or the Nexus of All Realities.

It is not yet fully known what San Franciscans think of this development, but that’s the nature of the gamble here. They may embrace the Warriors as the new toy in town and then lose interest, and frankly, neither Welts nor anyone else knows the answer to that.

Either way, their die is cast, and Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are now future former Oakland fixtures. Yes, they are quite fond of the exciting new real estate values and their exciting new unobstructed view of the bay, but it has long been assumed that the move would also entail changing the name back to “San Francisco” for the snob appeal.

Now Welts, who has overseen both arena projects (including the one at Piers 30 and 32 which ended up with the piers beating the Warriors in a rout), tells Comrade Poole that the San Francisco Warriors might not end up as the San Francisco Warriors after all.

“Four years ago, I think the conventional wisdom in our building here in Oakland was that yes, we should attach a city name to the team, then it becomes a more global franchise,” Welts marketing-gobbledy-gooked. “There was a lot of head-scratching four years ago about where the Golden State Warriors even played, in other parts of the world. What’s happened with the team over the course of the ensuing years, until today, has made the Warriors if not the preeminent, at least among the three best-known NBA franchises around the world. And everybody who didn’t know where the Golden State Warriors were four years ago, if you’re a fan today, anywhere in the world, you know where the Golden State Warriors are.”

In Oakland.

Now, the mic drop.

“The team’s success has caused us to really rethink whether or not that’s something we should or want to do,” he added. “I guess it’s fair to say there’s been no final decision made. But if you were a betting man, I think you would probably want to wager that the name might remain the same.”

Of course. Why not stay fictional when specificity might move fewer hoodies?

Then again, this is a team that in its 70 years has played home games in Philadelphia (the Arena, the Civic Center, Lincoln High School and Convention Hall), Hershey and Bethlehem PA, Atlantic City, Trenton, Collingswood and Camden NJ, and Saratoga Springs NY . . .

(a moment’s rest here to catch our breaths)

. . . and then after moving west in 1962, the Cow Palace, San Francisco Civic Auditorium and USF’s Memorial Gym, the Oakland Auditorium, San Jose Civic Auditorium, San Jose Arena, Richmond Auditorium, then Sacramento, Bakersfield, Fresno, San Diego, Eugene, Seattle, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.

In fact, and you can swindle the gullible at your neighborhood tavern with this one, the Warriors’ first game in San Francisco occurred almost three years before the team left Philadelphia. The Warriors played the visitors to the Minneapolis Lakers, who moved to Los Angeles a year later and had already played a regular season game at the Cow Palace earlier in the year, so this game, January 31, 1960, could have been considered a civic scouting trip for both teams as they sought new homes.

In other words, the Warriors are almost surely the most geographically vague team in the history of North American sports. Moreover, they are about to become the first team in sports history to go home for the third time under three different city names – Philadelphia, San Francisco and Krypton, or whatever the hell they want to call themselves this time.